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HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM AVA MARCH
The holidays are a wonderful time of year. A time to spend time with family, to bask in the joys of giving, and a time to deck the halls.
Decorating is a big part of the holidays, and I have a friend who really gets into it. Absolutely adores his Christmas tree. He’s convinced he has the best one, and from the way he describes it (complete with peppermint lights), I’m quite sure he does. Anyway, all his talk recently about trees made me realize that they are one of my favorite things about the Christmas holiday.
To be honest, my tree isn’t something that would ever grace the pages of a decorating magazine. First off, it’s an artificial tree. I tried the real tree route once, but having to vacuum all those dead needles from the carpet turned me into an artificial tree kind of gal. My kidlet picked the current one out a few years ago, and that explains a lot about it. Kids don’t always go for the most expensive, most elaborate thing. Kids have that honesty about them – they know what they like and that’s what they go for. And my kidlet liked the tree at the lower end of the price spectrum (she got my thanks for that, considering I can be rather cheap at times). The branches aren’t thick and full – they’re actually rather sparse and have that pathetic air about them. And there is no way anyone could ever mistake it for a real tree. But it came with pretty, twinkling multi-colored lights. So she loved it. And I bought it for her. This year she wanted to be in charge of decorating it. The ornaments are strewn haphazardly about the tree and she opted out of a star or angel for the top of the tree. But you know what? This year’s tree is my favorite tree of all.
To me, a Christmas wouldn’t be a Christmas without a tree. But Christmas trees actually haven’t been a tradition for all that long. They didn’t become a recognized and common component of Christmas until the Victorian era. It wasn’t that no one did the Christmas tree thing before the mid-1800’s (Queen Charlotte is credited with putting up a royal family Christmas tree in 1800). But there was a large class divide before the Victorian era – there were a select few ‘haves’ and most of the masses fell into the ‘have nots’ that simply didn’t have the means to indulge in elaborate and costly traditions. Christmas was more of a spiritual and social holiday during the Regency era, and one must remember that England was at war during the time period. They more celebrated the season with gatherings of friends and family. Christmas day itself was typically spent with a church service followed by a family meal. The day didn’t start with a mad dash to find the presents under the tree. Besides the fact they didn’t have a tree to run to, gift giving during the Regency wasn’t at all what it is today. Sure, they gave gifts, but it was definitely tempered. A gift given to the landowner or to charity or something small for children.
Christmas traditions have certainly changed since the Regency, but like today, the focus was on friends and family. On celebrating the season and taking the time to give thanks for all that we are blessed with. And this year, I am most thankful to have my family, which includes a kidlet who has become quite the master tree decorator.
Advent Calendar Giveaway!
So what’s your favorite thing about Christmas? Leave a comment and you’ll be entered to win your choice of one of my books from my backlist – Bound by Deception, Bound to Him, Object of His Desire or Convincing Arthur. On December 24th, I’ll pick a winner at random.